All posts by keiramunsmith

NYCFC at a Crossroads

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club seems to be at a crossroads now with three games ahead in tight succession between Saturday and August 24th.  The talk amongst fans is how many points is reasonable to expect from these matches and where the season will go from there.

I don’t like to jinx things but…

Despite NYCFCs drop in the rankings after Sunday’s game, I’m not concerned. New York City still has 3 games in hand with 23 played while Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia and Atlanta have played 26 and 25 respectively.   If NYCFC can keep its act together in the next three matches, important points can be gained and they can climb up the table. 

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Sunday’s match versus Atlanta United in “Atlan-turf” ended with a 2-1 loss, with momentum and possession clearly with the home squad.  It was a ticky-tacky match with a lot of contact, simulation, and aggression. 

NYCFC head coach Dome Torrent stated after the match that “You have to be brave to play Atlanta” and it did appear that the team was intimidated by the former champions. Perhaps it was the uncertainty about the fitness of midfielder Maxi Moralez and striker Héber but City did not play with confidence. 

Nevertheless, a home field Atlanta is theoretically supposed to win.  They consistently draw a huge crowd, are on an upward swing with their season and are very accustomed to playing on artificial turf.

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Upcoming matches

New York City travels to face FC Cincinnati on 8/17

It’s no  secret that FC Cincy sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  Is this a potential trap game?  With Maxi Moralez perhaps not at 100%, Dome Torrent will may keep him rested and play him only if needed.  NYCFC should completely dominate FC Cincinnati but Dome may be playing to ensure everyone is healthy to face…

Columbus Crew at home on 8/21

Columbus has not had a great season but it has very talented players and they are capable of slaying giants.  (See their win over Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.) Victory is not a foregone conclusion and City will need to balance strong defending of Gyasi Zardes and Pedro Santos while playing the tight possession-centric style that has served them well. 

RBNY at home on 8/24

We need to talk about the strange voodoo powers that RBNY seems to have over NYCFC.  City faces them year in and year out and it seems that NYC either gets completely trounced or barely squeaks by.   (We also see this in the western conference with LAFC versus LA Galaxy.  LAFC can have the best record in the league but just can’t beat the Galaxy.)

There are two ways to look at this game:  Everyone is fit and prepared to go all in and get a win, no matter how many limbs are left on the field or the team plays for a draw, keeping most players from getting injured and look ahead to the rest of the season. 

A lot of the noise in players’ heads will be determined by the results of the two prior games.  If they handedly beat Cincinnati and Columbus, I predict that they will walk onto the pitch with chests puffed out and ready to go for a big win. If not, they will play tentatively and will be lucky to gain a point.  

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 All images including featured image by NYCFC.com

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Maxi Moralez’s huge presence on NYCFC

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

In the last few days more media attention has been brought to New York City Football Club’s Designated Player, midfielder Maxi Moralez.  

His stats speak for themselves, (he currently leads the league with 13 assists and additionally has made 6 goals), but to those who have been following his career in New York, the numbers barely scratch the surface of the artful and creative style which is Maxi’s signature.  Maxi seems to be everywhere you need him while maintaining an overall vision of his teammates’ positioning.  It is a treat to watch him week in and week out.  

Last year NYCFC fans staged a virtual internet sit-in surrounding the MLS All-Star game by organizing the voting in of almost the entire Atlanta United team and refusing to vote in any of their own.  The general sentiment was that NYCFC was doing well (ironically right after this, the season started tanking) and that our players should not be wasting their time playing in a useless game where they risked potential injury on the artificial turf. 

With Atlanta as the run away front runner, other teams’ (ahem, NYCFC) fans were attempting to find any way to slow them down.  ‘Let them play in a game that doesn’t count! They think they are so great!  Maybe they’ll get hurt!’  

This season, perhaps because there is much yet to be decided in the Eastern Conference, New York City fans were less salty and overall more supportive of Maxi Moralez’s representation of the team in the MLS All-Star game. Maxi was about to head off to Orlando when he tweaked his calf in the game versus Sporting Kansas City.  The injury is apparently minor, but in order to protect him Coach Dome Torrent will be resting Maxi on Saturday in the away match versus Real Salt Lake.  

Let’s be clear:  Maxi deserves both to be recognized as an MLS All-Star and get some rest.  In general, Maxi’s roles in relation to the rest of this team reminds me of the role many mothers play within their family units. 

Both Maxi and most mothers are constantly running in 17 different directions, while keeping long term goals in their sights.  Both Maxi and many moms are their team/family’s  “emergency phone calls”, are constantly aware of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and when there’s an opportunity for a family member to learn on their own.  They know how to motivate others and experience joy at their teammate’s successes.

They don’t ask for their own spotlight and play hurt.  Both never stop moving until they drop and set others up for glory.  They know when others need to be scolded and when to protect them.  They know when to stay calm and when it’s time to raise hell.  All of these qualities are regularly demonstrated by Maxi Moralez, and NYCFC would be a far less cohesive unit and a far less successful team without him.  

As reported by MLS.com, Moralez stated in a pre-All Star Game player Q&A, that he would like to possibly end his career where he began, in Argentina.  There is a very strong chance that Maxi, a married 32 year old father with young children of his own, in his final year of his DP contract, is playing his last few months with the club.  He deserves to end his career on his own terms, but as a fan of the team I wonder what this will mean for its future. 

We will get a small taste of how the club plays without its ‘mom’ on Saturday against Real Salt Lake.  Like a grown child moving out of the house to pursue a job or education, they’d better get used to it.  

All Images:  NYCFC

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The yin and the yang of NYCFC vs Colorado Rapids

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

In last night’s Rocky Mountain duel versus the Colorado Rapids, New York City Football Club came away with the 2-1 win. It was not an easy result.

The team, near full health with Alexandru Mitrita, James Sands and Héber returning to the lineup, dominated possession with a continuous onslaught of attacking chances on Colorado and yet had a hard time with finishing. The match was filled with dualities which seemed to both hold the victory a bit out of their grasp and yet also paved the way for them to walk away with three points.

Many New York fans were eager to see Colorado’s Jonathan Lewis face off against his old teammates.  Lewis has been a welcome addition to the Rapids with his speed on attack and was the player who orchestrated the first goal of this match.  Lewis easily sped past Sebastien Ibeagha and fed the ball to Sebastian Anderson who buried it in the 6th minute.  

There was definitely a sense of poetic justice for Lewis as he struggled to gain playing time while at NYCFC.  Minutes later, 16-year-old Anderson was shown a red card on an apparent studs up tackle on Ronald Matarrita.  The highs and the lows of soccer seemed to happen within minutes for Anderson.

Rapids played down a player for most of the game but were able to defend well against NYCFC who just could not finish.  Colorado was up 1-0 until the 40th minute when Héber put one in on a ball by Maxi Moralez.  

From the television camera angles, Héber looked off side but the goal stood and the game was level.  Although NYCFC continued to dominate, they struggled to put the last piece into the offensive puzzle until Mitrita came in and they found their missing attacking element. Mitrita converted the goal that fans were salivating for in the 83rd minute.

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Oh, and did I mention that Colorado Rapids had to utilize their backup goalkeeper Clint Irwin for half the match as Tim Howard went out with a strained calf?  

In theory, this should have been a easy and decisive victory.  Despite being down a player, Colorado continued to park the bus in front of their goal with occasional attempts to counter attack.  These counter attacks were particularly scare-inducing during the last 10 minutes when almost the entire NYCFC team was above the half line.

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Perhaps the referee gods were on the side of New York City during this match.  There was the early Colorado red card, the lack of off side calls and a lenience by the referee on players like Alex Callens, who elbowed  off the ball on the edge of the box in extra time.   Was all of this karma for last week’s “Throw-in Gate” versus the New York Red Bulls? We will never really know.

Next test for NYCFC is at home versus a bruised Sporting Kansas City on Friday 7/26.

All photos:  NYCFC

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This is not an NYCFC recap

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Originally, this was going to be a look back at the last three New York City Football Club matches with some crossover between the conviction of soccer fandom and playing mahjongg.  Then I made the questionable choice of opening Twitter right before laying out my thoughts. I learned of a change in the NYCFC home grown media family that quickly altered my plans.

Truth be told, the main reason I have a presence on Twitter is to be informed on all things related to soccer.  However, on any given day one can drown in the sludge of overall political polarity and the negativity of “calling out” culture that is prevalent amongst keyboard warriors and trolls.  It can be overwhelming for anyone with an actual beating heart in their chest.

Soccer to me has always been a mechanism for bringing diverse people together.  So many components of the “American Dream” are built into American soccer culture:  hard work, creativity, international influences, the lack of time outs and the passion for winning.  It’s a bit ironic that it’s easier than ever for people who live in the US to take in soccer in all its multi-cultural glory, and at the same time watch blatant racist and xenophobic statements being initiated by the leader of our country.  My younger self would never have predicted these overlapping arcs.

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Taty Castellanos (right) stretches for the ball.

I’ve met some of my closest friends and extended family through my connection with NYCFC.   So, please pardon me while I wax sentimental reading about how one person in particular Andrés Emilio Soto, the creator of NYCFC Nation podcast, hung up his microphone and editing equipment upon conclusion of this week’s 200th episode.

I met Andrés last season when he invited me on “The Nation” podcast to talk about my new gig as the NYCFC Reporter for MLSFemale.  This was  my first podcast. I had a lot of handwritten notes which crinkled loudly into the microphone and I said “um” a lot, which I’m certain created a lot of extra editing work for Andrés.  I will never forget how welcoming he, Chris P, and Chris M (the other long time contributing members of NYCFC Nation), made me feel, as we chatted openly about all things NYCFC.

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Andrés Emilio Soto flanked by Chris Magalee (aka Chris M) and photographer Juan Carlos Rubiano in the NYCFC press box. Image courtesy of A. Soto.

Andrés is a true fan of the sport and NYCFC.  He’s volunteered a huge portion of his time over the years through his work on “The Nation”, donated personal money to hosting viewing parties and social events, and raised money for City in the Community.  He’s also conveyed to me his support in promoting female soccer fandom.   (To clarify:  Andrés is not leaving but pursuing other non-podcasting avenues with NYCFC Nation.)

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Andrés Emilio Soto (right) with former NYCFC player Ethan White (center) and Chris Puntarelli (aka Chris P).  Image courtesy of A. Soto.

So, this isn’t a recap of the last few NYCFC matches because most of us know that the team lost versus Portland Timbers 1-0 (the first home loss in 2019), lost in a penalty kick shoot out versus Orlando City SC in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and again lost 2-1 versus regional opponent New York Red Bulls.  City still have about 4 games in hand with room to move up in the standings and have the second highest points per game number in the Eastern Conference with 1.61.

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Sebastien Ibeagha (left) clears the ball.

Writing this piece has been a much needed chance for me to inhale and breathe in the beauty and positivity that is my NYCFC family and MLSFemale family.  It’s also my thank you to Andrés and the extended NYCFC Nation podcast squad.  I was like the new kid who just transferred schools and you immediately invited me to sit at your table in the cafeteria.  I am grateful for the opportunity and support.

I love this sport and welcome all who appreciate the game and the diversity of its fan base.  I am excited for the soccer dabblers to taste it and figure out if it’s for them.  The door is always open and I’ve got some nice cold beers in the fridge.

Images by Tisha Gale unless otherwise noted.

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How Deep Is Your Team? NYCFC Bests Seattle Sounders 3-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

NYCFC banged out another home victory Wednesday night versus the Seattle Sounders with a score of 3-0. Both teams were missing players due Gold Cup and Copa América call ups, but City, even with injuries to key starters, proved the deeper and more persistent team of the match.

Ebenezer Ofori celebrates his goal.

In goal, Brad Stuver stepped up with key saves while usual starter Sean Johnson represents Team USA at the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, Sebastien Ibeagha diffused Sounders attacking chances with ease, sliding in for Alex Callens who is representing Peru in Copa America. (Both US and Peru will be heading to their respective tournament finals. Bam!)

Goalkeeper Brad Stuver applauds the supporters.

If we are being honest, it must be said that NYCFC midfielder and MLS All-Star Maxi Moralez did not play his best football last night. Yes, I know he scored a goal. However, passes seemed a tad off target, tackles a bit slow. He went down a bit too easily in some one v ones. He’s allowed to have an off night, I mean he’s human right?

In my opinion, NYCFC is a strong and creative team due to Moralez and his vision. He truly does weave a web around the other team, many times leaving them on their heels. It’s particularly fine for him to be off once in a while when the entire team seemed to step up and give 110% to make sure that the attack wasn’t turned over or key counter attack chances were not surrendered.

Did I also mention that New York City was playing without solid starters Héber at striker and James Sands on defense? Héber, out with a hamstring injury, has been a constant goal scoring threat since he joined the team. In the absence of Sands in a central defender role due to a fractured arm, Head Coach Dome Torrent switched up the lineup and has repositioned Maxime Chanot and Ibeagha in dual center back positions. Ronald Matarrita returned to left back from Copa América, mirroring Anton Tinnerholm in the right back role and – despite the lack of “wing back” label which is utilized with a healthy James Sands – both vigorously embraced their dual roles of defending and initiating attacks down the wings.

NYCFC lineup. Image by MLS

Goals were scored by Moralez, Jesus Medina and Ebenezer Ofori -another massive banger by the midfielder. Both Medina and Ofori came in as subs for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Alexandru Mitrita, respectively, and delivered for the team.

Keaton Parks supports Jesus Medina.

I like to give out awards (shhhh, don’t tell anyone that they are merely symbolic) and to me the two MVPs for this match were Ronald Matarrita and Taty Castellanos, whose grit, never ending hustle and pressure initiated many of the team’s goal scoring chances. Runner-up was Keaton Parks who was unflappable in midfield.

Next match is Sunday 7/7 at 6:30 pm, when NYCFC hosts Portland after the Women’s World Cup final.

Featured and other images:  @NYCFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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NYCFC players proudly show their 2019 world Cup colors

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Brad Stuver, Anton Tinnerholm and Sebastien Ibeagha sporting their jerseys for US, Sweden and Nigeria (respectively).

The 2019 World Cup is under way across France and the players of New York City Football Club are here for it. Here’s how some of the team will be supporting their favorite national team and checking out the matches:

Sebastien Ibeagha

Defender Sebastien Ibeagha is rooting for Nigeria’s Super Falcons but his favorite female footballer right now is Carli Lloyd.

He will most likely watch the majority of the games from the comfort of his couch and if he gets an urge to grab some of his favorite Nigerian foods, he “can easily find them in New York”.

James Sands

Native New Yorker James Sands is supporting the United States. He too is a fan of Carli Lloyd and plans to watch the matches at home with his family. Sands’ favorite game day snack? Chips and Salsa.
And who does he think are the toughest teams in the tournament? “France and the USA”

Valentín “Taty” Castellanos

Taty Castellanos will be cheering for Team Argentina from his home in New York. His favorite Argentine dishes are Asados or Milanesas con pure, which can be found in select Argentine restaurants in the city.  Castellanos likes Argentina’s chances to take home the Cup.

Brad Stuver

Goalkeeper Brad Stuver is a fan of Team USA. He too enjoys watching the games from the comfort of his couch, possibly while indulging in his favorite game day “watching sports” snack of chicken wings. His favorite player in the tournament? Tobin Heath.
Stuver predicts a battle between France and the US in the quarterfinals.

Taty Castellanos, James Sands and Héber share a laugh.

All images are by  Tisha Gale  and are part of her photo project “For Club and Country”. For more photos from this shoot, check out: Summer of Soccer, For Club & Country.

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NYCFC scores all seven goals in win vs FC Cincinnati 5-2

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York, New York: The city so nice, their team scores twice for the visiting team.  Who said that New Yorkers weren’t hospitable?  New York City Football Club proved to be a humble host to FC Cincinnati on Thursday by putting two goals into the back of their own goal.

In a beautiful spring evening celebrating LGBTQ pride in New York City, NYCFC took control quickly over the match.  MLS newbies FC Cincinnati had trouble stringing together passes and gave away their limited possession in the middle third of the field.  

NYCFC accessed its roster depth via some lineup changes. Due to to injuries and international call-ups City was without a mix of starters, including Sean Johnson, Alexander Callens, Ben Sweat, Ronald Matarrita and Ebenezer Ofori.

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The team also appeared to be utilizing about five forwards in a bold play for a big win. The first thirty minutes would have been tough to watch if you were a FC Cincinnati fan as NYCFC scored about 1 goal every 10 minutes of play. However, in the 37th minute, NYC did foul up a defensive play in the box and suffered an own goal, which was “credited” to Héber. Half time score was 3-1, making it once again a ball game.

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Héber at work

In the second half, within minutes Héber put in another one off a Maxi Moralez assist. In a quick sequence of events in the 76th minute, Brad Stuver made a difficult punch save off a hard FCC shot but the ball ricocheted off the leg of Sebastien Ibeagha and went into the back of New York City’s goal, making the score 4-2.

Still not content in the 90th minute with the victory claimed, NYCFC finished off the match with a gorgeous weaving pattern into the box where the master of webs finished off the ball via a difficult angle.

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Héber and Maxi Moralez celebrate a goal
Justin Haak
Justin Haak of Brooklyn, NY, makes his 2019 debut

Moralez was credited in this match with three assists and one goal, Héber had a brace, while Alexandru Mitrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi had one a piece. Also worth noting is homegrown Brooklynite Justin Haak made his debut in the second half.  

This match was a definite team effort while being down some starters, and while giving the guests a few goals to help with their goal differential. A win all around for NYCFC. However, this news put a definite damper on the celebratory vibes:

The anchor of NYCFC’s defensive line suffered a broken arm in a collision with Stuver near the end of the match.  Although this is bad news for the team, he may only miss two league games.   Fans of the team are hoping for a speedy recovery for Sands.

All photos by Tisha Gale

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NYCFC Leads the League in Draws

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club concluded its long road trip with another draw versus Columbus Crew SC on Saturday.  This result comes a week after another midwestern road tie versus the Chicago Fire.  This particular match was a celebration and farewell party to Crew keeper Zack Steffen, who is heading off to Manchester City, (but not before New York City put two goals past him.)

The match started a bit flat for NYCFC with most early momentum carried by the Crew’s Gyasi Zardes.  A foul in the box called on City’s Alex Callens resulted in a successful Zardes  penalty kick, putting the Crew up 1-0 in the 28th minute.  Héber made it level for New York at 57′ when he scooped up an errant touch by Maxi Moralez off a centering pass by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.  Héber has been doing a bang up job of anticipating the rebound and putting himself in a position to capitalize on these balls.

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Taty Castellanos – photo credit NYCFC

Columbus jumped ahead again a few minutes later when David Accam found a wide open Pedro Santos who buried the ball past Sean Johnson.  There seemed to be some failure amongst defenders Callens, James Sands and Maxime Chanot in marking Santos, leaving Johnson a bit defenseless.  

Moment of the match for New York City happened in the 75th minute when Alex Ring’s steady defensive pressure allowed him to collect the ball and find a wide open Taty Castellanos who scored a stunner from about 30 yards out. If the team can continue to scoop up scrappy goals in the box and score from way outside the box, the season is looking up. Despite the lack of a win, walking away from that game with a point doesn’t feel bad.

If it seems like it’s been a while since NYCFC played at home, well that’s because the last home appearance was on April 27th.  This past four-game away streak brought the team 8 points via 2 wins and 2 draws.  City now has the title of the team with the most draws in the league with 8.  Nope, there is no crown for this “honor” but next in line to the throne would be both Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps which have drawn 6 times thus far this season.  

Another statistic to keep in mind is that the Eastern conference standings are relatively meaningless when there are huge discrepancies in number of games played.  NYCFC (currently sitting in 6th place) has only played 13 matches, while Montreal Impact (ahead in the standings by one position) have played 17.  Obviously, City can potentially gain more points and move ahead in the standings, however the matches in early July could be challenging in the form of Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and our friends from across the river, the Red Bulls.

Featured image:  @NYCFC

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NYCFC find their groove against the Galaxy, winning 2-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club continued to show its developing form in its unexpected win over LA Galaxy.  With a return of anchor defender James Sands from injury, the team looked calm and settled.  One slight change to the lineup was the swapping out of the injured Ebenezer Ofori, out with a core injury, for Tony Rocha in a center midfield role.  NYCFC faced a Galaxy who were without Jonathan Dos Santos, Rolf Feltscher, Romain Alessandrini and showed some struggle to gather attacking chances particularly without Dos Santos.

The Boys in Blue excelled in their passing accuracy in the attacking half and the final third and this kept them steady and in control of much of the game.  New York City did an excellent job of defending but the clear and obvious strategy by LA of always trying to serve the ball up to Zlatan Ibrahimovich made the Galaxy seem predictable and easier to defend.  Where LA did a good job of accurately crossing the ball, the NYC defenders knew how to position themselves in order to quickly destroy the play.  Alex Callens was particularly efficient at slowing down or destroying LA’s attempts to propel their attack.

New York’s first goal was scored by Héber on a rebound of an Anton Tinnerholm shot.  Héber has clearly settled into his #9 role, making a go of any loose balls in the box.  He has scored 3 goals and had 3 assists in the 7 games he’s played since he joined the team.  Not only does Heber do his job well, he looks like he’s enjoying himself the whole time.  

The second goal was scored on a play in LA’s box that was first called as an offside on City but ended up as a handball call on LA via VAR.  Incredulously, Maxi Moralez stepped up to take the penalty kick, leaving most fans screaming at their screens “No!  Anyone but Maxi!” as Moralez’s last two attempts at PKs this season were failures.  

Moralez ended up burying this ball in the back of the net.  For the record, Héber should take these PKs but perhaps out of respect and seniority he deferred to Moralez.

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NYCFC has successfully and repeatedly made good use of the wingback role, with particular ease when the roles are executed by Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita. The match did end on a strange note with a seemingly frustrated Ibrahimovich and NYCFC’s goalkeeper Sean Johnson in a tangle of alleged body bumps and hands to the neck resulting in both players being booked on yellow cards.

It’s still early in the season but NYCFC have now moved up to 4th place in the Eastern Conference behind Philadelphia, DC and Montréal with their next call to arms on 5/25 in another away match versus Chicago Fire.

All images:  NYCFC twitter

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You gotta have depth: NYCFC tops Montréal Impact 2-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

After an inconsistent start to the 2019 season, New York City Football Club appears to have found their groove with a 2-0 win over Montreal Impact.  The victory was, in part, due to solid play by the misunderstood Ben Sweat and smart strategy by the often-maligned Head Coach Dome Torrent.

Prior to this match, it looked like City had found a solid starting lineup:

 

However, injuries to Alexandru Mitrita, James Sands, and Ronald Matarrita suddenly made the team’s chances versus Montréal less certain.

Team depth, particularly in the midfield, paid off big time as Ben Sweat stepped up his game and executed his wingback role beyond expectations and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi returned to his starting position of right wing.

Tajouri-Shradi, one of 2018’s top team scorers, has not been consistently in the lineup, which was sparking questions from many fans.  The biggest cause for concern prior to this match was the injury of defensive powerhouse James Sands and how the team would fill in for his strength and consistency.

And in the end Torrent chose to go with a 3-4-3 just as certain adept fans so accurately predicted.

The depth of the team and the adherence to a strategy of ironically “widening the field” (you know, since we have such a narrow home pitch?) and playing the majority of attacking sequences down the flanks ultimately were the doom of the Impact.

With this ball and player pattern, Montreal had no idea who to cover and how to predict the play, particularly in the second half.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if this winning strategy was more effective on the road and the team ended up more successful on the road than at home? Is this likely? Probably not, but it would make things very interesting.

With goals scored by Moralez (6′) and Tajouri-Shradi (49′), the team demonstrated depth in offensive prowess and the ability to generate goals without Designated Player Mitrita and despite striker Héber having a rare non-productive outing.

Also worth noting is that the Impact generated a few first half goal scoring chances but NYCFC’s back line of Sebastien Ibeagha, Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot ultimately were consistent in their defense.

Tajouri-Shradi photo credit to NYCFC
Tajouri-Shradi dropping the hammer

Next up, NYCFC has three challenging games on the road: LA Galaxy on 5/11, Chicago Fire on 5/25 and Columbus Crew on 6/1 before returning home to host FC Cincinnati on 6/6.

I would anticipate that Coach Torrent will continue to utilize a formation with wingbacks, either with or without Sands.  Will this formation be as useful on the narrow home pitch? As of now, City is unbeaten over the past 6 games, but the matchup against the LA Galaxy will be a true test of this apparent upward momentum.

Featured Image:  NYCFC.com

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